Ortovox 3L Ortler 2019-2020 Jacket Review
A year ago, I realized that it was time to upgrade my jacket from the Arc’teryx Alpha SV I was given in 2008 by my grandmother before I went to Switzerland. While I love that jacket, and it served me very well for many years, I knew it was time to think about retiring it.
But what to get? How to choose?
I took some time to sit back and really think about what I needed.
After all, I bought a Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm near the end of winter 2018-2019 in preparation for the 2019-2020 season, and fell in love with that jacket for resort days. A long sleeve shirt and a mid-layer (hoodie usually) plus that and I am good to go on all but the very coldest of days in the Rockies.
But the Stretch Nano Storm isn’t a backcountry jacket at all, and some (spring) days it is just way too warm for even the resorts.
So I settled on the following:
- Meant for backcountry skiing, so breathable (armpit zips especially) and ideally no pockets around the waist belt area
- Good storm hood for the stormy days
- Light and packable
- Extremely waterproof
Because I have a lot of puffy jackets to choose from and always pack one (I’m still favorable to my Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer from 2015), I wasn’t concerned about warmth. I needed protection and above all something light that I could throw into my Osprey Kamber 32 backcountry pack.
After a ton of research (you know how I love looking at jackets) and narrowing it down to two, I finally chose the Ortovox 3L Ortler jacket as my jacket of choice. The other one, if you’re interested, was the Mammut Nordwand Pro HS which I tried on in Chamonix in late 2017 and loved, but $800 was simply out of my price range (though it’s available for $440 as of late April 2020).
After about a dozen days with the 3L Ortler, including multiple at the resort (including an unexpected 14′ day at the end of February 2020) and backcountry tours in the Rockies around Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass, I have to say that I love this jacket.
Here’s my full review.
First, let’s start with how the 3L Ortler performs. As mentioned above, performance in all sorts of weather was a major requirement for my choice.
Here I am wearing it on a deep day at Breckenridge in late February:
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With 20,000mm of waterproofing and a breathability rating or 20,000g/m², I was expecting it to keep me both dry and not overheating. You and I both know that on deep powder days, you’re working hard and can overheat. This is specifically why I didn’t wear the Patagonia Stretch Nano Storm on this day, plus I wanted to see how the 3L Ortler performed.
On backcountry days, I’ve not been disappointed either. While some will find the lack of hand pockets annoying, it’s exactly what I wanted in this jacket. When skinning in inclement weather (rare for us because #dadlife, but it happens), I’m able to attach my wait belt, throw up the hood, and keep on moving through the mountains.
With taped seams, moisture doesn’t get in and it breathes like a dream when working hard.
As mentioned at the top, another key feature I needed in a dedicated backcountry jacket was packability. Coupled with that is as lightweight as possible, at just 15.7oz (the Nordwand Pro is 21.9oz), this jacket goes seamlessly into my backcountry pack when I need to stow it away as we’re skinning.
I like to pack it near the top of my pack, just above my puffy (if I’m not wearing that), so it is easily grab-able should we get into a squall where I need this layer. I’ll usually also pack it into its own hood to keep it in one place.
The Ortovox 3L Ortler does not pack into its own pocket.
Remember, I’m 5’9″ and about 155 pounds at the moment. I went back and forth about whether to get the Medium or Large, and after thinking through the usual considerations of layering underneath I decided to get the Large.
Overall, I am happy with the fit. It’s not too long at hip length, and the arm length is perfect for me at a 6’1″ wingspan.
I will say though that the jacket is a bit more loose around the middle than I’d usually get. It does layer well with a puffy jacket underneath and doesn’t feel too big, but if I could fix one thing it would be the fit around the middle.
The Ortovox 3L Ortler is well-featured without too many bells and whistles.
- Front zips with taped seams
- Chest pocket on the left side of the bosy
- Arm storage pocket (ideal for snacks or a pass)
- Pit zips
- Storm-ready hood
- Soft material around the chin (unlike many jackets!)
- Arm velcro for correct wrist fit
- Cinch around the bottom to keep out snow
Do note that this jacket does not have a powder skirt. But honestly, who really uses those anymore?
Here are the Ortovox 3L Ortler specs from Backcountry:
- Material: [membrane/laminate] Toray Dermizax NX (polyurethane), [face fabric] nylon, [lining] polyester, [details] 72% polyester, 28% virgin merino wool
- Waterproof Rating: 20,000mm
- Breathability Rating: 20,000g/m²
- Seams: fully sealed
- Fit: regular
- Length: hip